Share this page:

Animal Care and Bird Behavior Research Internship at SCBI

This internship has closed. To see open and upcoming opportunities, visit the internships page.

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is offering an internship to assist with ongoing research on rare and endangered avian species. The SCBI Bird Team, which features a variety of species, is seeking an applicant for consideration to serve as a research intern for the 2020 spring/summer session which will coincide with the red siskin breeding season (early March to late August). While the primary focus of the internship is behavioral observation and data collection, the intern will also be assisting with daily husbandry and animal care tasks with keeper staff.

This is an unpaid internship, but on-site government housing is provided at SCBI headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia. The intern will support SCBI's Department of Animal Programs - Bird Team.

Learning Objectives: 
  • Assist animal keepers with daily husbandry, including feeding animals, cleaning enclosures, cleaning and caring for live feeder colonies (mice and insects), enclosure preparation and renovation, plant care, nest checks, chick care, health assessments, medical care and treatment, fecal collections, semen collection/assessment, egg incubation, record keeping, and observation
  • Conduct daily behavioral observations of red siskins (and potentially other avian species) to monitor breeding behavior and social interactions as part of a research project.
  • Data collection and data entry
  • Learn and follow animal/keeper safety guidelines, operations and polices
  • Learn USDA and AZA guidelines, NZP directives, procedures and protocols and other related literature
  • Present a short summary of the intern experience to SCBI Department of Animal Programs staff
  •  Strong attention to detail

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

  • Must enjoy performing assigned duties outdoors in all weather conditions and be able to lift at least 50 pounds

  • Willing to report to internship outside of normal business hours, including weekends and holidays

  • Ability to be an effective team member, often with minimal supervision

  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions

  • Ability to remain calm and think rationally under pressure

Preference will be given to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing a degree in a related field. 

A negative tuberculosis test is required prior to start date. The intern must have appropriate footwear, and appropriate outerwear is required for all weather conditions (rain, snow, wind, hail, etc.).

This is an unpaid internship wherein the intern supports SCBI's Department of Animal Programs - Bird Team in Front Royal, Virginia.
Front Royal
On-site government housing is provided at SCBI headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia (dormitory, nonsmoking, no pets and additional codes of conduct apply).
Parking at SCBI headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia, is available.
Term of appointment: 
This is a six-month internship from March to August 2020.
Application deadline(s): 
Friday, January 31, 2020
Internship Category: 
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to Select "Don't have an Account? Create An Account." Complete the information to create an account.

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  • Two contacts of references (one must be from a current or a former supervisor)
  • Schedule of availability.

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “SCBI - Avian Behavior Research Internship in Front Royal”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.”